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On June 3, Philaret Denisenko, the “Patriarch” of the “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) and “Honorary Patriarch” of the “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), met with rectors of the parishes of the OCU’s Kiev Diocese, where the possibility of convening a Local Council of the KP was discussed. At today’s “For the Ukrainian Orthodox Church! For the Kiev Patriarchate!” forum, Philaret announced that a Local Council of the KP will indeed be held, on June 20, reports BBC News Ukraine. Philaret thus intends to fully restore the KP that he had nominally agreed to liquidate on December 15 before the start of the “unification council” that created the OCU out of the KP and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” (UAOC). The Patriarchate of Constantinople had previously lifted the Moscow Patriarchate’s anathema placed upon Philaret for his schismatic actions and received him into its jurisdiction on October 11, claiming that the sanction had been placed upon him unjustly, though Patriarch Bartholomew had previously recognized the anathema. “We are convening a Local Council that will not approve the decision of this council on December 15, 2018. That means it is not mandatory for us. We will thereby show that the Kiev Patriarchate was, is, and will be. We are convening the council on June 20,” Philaret announced during today’s forum, stressing that it will be a Local Council of the KP, not the OCU, which is headed by “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko. “There was no Local Council of the Kiev Patriarchate on December 15, but a collection of signatures under the resolution of the local council. We will reject this resolution at the Local Council and it will be invalid for us,” Philaret further explained. The Patriarchate of Constantinople insisted that both the KP and the UAOC vote to liquidate themselves before the “unification council” on December 15 in order to unite into a new structure. Amidst Philaret’s loud statements about restoring the KP, Makary Maletich, the primate of the UAOC, announced that his structure also continues to officially, legally exist. Given that Constantinople’s pre-conciliar stipulations were not met, the status of the OCU is unclear. The OCU is legally registered with the state, and thus, as OrthoChristian has previously reported, the “unification council” resulted in two schismatic structures becoming three, rather than one. Moreover, Philaret repeated that had he known the contents of the tomos of autocephaly written by Constantinople, that leave the OCU dependent upon Constantinople in important ways, he would not have accepted it. However, he went further this time, declaring that “We do not accept this tomos… Had we known the contents, we would not have voted for autocephaly on December 15, because we don’t need to go from one dependence to another,” reports Gromadske. “The Moscow Patriarchate serves the interests of Moscow, the OCU serves the Greeks, and who will serve Ukraine?” Philaret asked. “Epiphany is a servant of the Ecumenical Patriarchate. He established a Greek vicar bishop to watch and transmit information to the Ecumenical Patriarch, to transmit through him instructions on what to do,” Philaret said, referring to Archimandrite Epiphanius (Dimitriou), formerly of the Greek Orthodox Church, who was “consecrated” as a “bishop” of the OCU. With references to its sources in the OCU, BBC reports that the Local Council could be attended by “Metropolitan” Joasaph of Belgorod, who has also publicly criticized Epiphany Dumenko, and perhaps another “bishop” of the former KP parishes in Russia, and a small part of the clergy of the Kiev Diocese of the OCU, which is headed by Philaret himself. However, Philaret remains undeterred. The Local Council, he says, will allow them to “preserve the Kiev Patriarchate. Though it will be small, it will grow into a large church.” The participants in today’s forum also intend to address President Vladimir Zelensky and ask him to “support the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Kiev Patriarchate against any encroachment.” http://orthochristian.com/121774.html?fbclid=IwAR1jeZMQNxzx69uWtw9LDcksiBHDYn1fdKUb-h9nkouN3mUbGnj7BXZyTug
Philaret Denisenko’s “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) does not and has never existed, Patriarch Bartholomew told a group of Ukrainian journalists in Istanbul last week. “As for [Ph]ilaret, he was restored to his episcopal dignity as former Metropolitan of Kiev. The so-called ‘Patriarchate of Kiev’ does not exist and never existed,” the Patriarch told the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine. The head of the Union, Sergei Tomilenko, wrote about the meeting on his Facebook page and published the full text of Pat. Bartholomew’s English speech. The declaration comes against the background of Philaret Denisenko’s active attempts to garner support for the revival of the KP, which he loudly proclaims never ceased to exist, despite his promise to liquidate it on the morning of the “unification council” in Kiev on December 15. The Ukrainian Ministry of Justice has confirmed that the KP was never liquidated and continues to exist, at least in the eyes of the state. Moreover, the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church,” which united with the KP to create the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU), was also not liquidated before the council. Thus, there are now three schismatic bodies in Ukraine, rather than the two that existed before the “unification council.” A battle has begun between Philaret Denisenko, the “Patriarch” of the KP, considered the “Honorary Patriarch” of the OCU, and the primate of the OCU “Metropolitan” Epiphany Dumenko, that only further delegitimizes the OCU in the eyes of the Orthodox world and threatens to tear apart Pat. Bartholomew’s personal creation. While the Orthodox world has never recognized the legitimacy of the KP, it does not deny its existence. Moreover, in the same speech, Pat. Bartholomew himself speaks of the separation of Ukrainian Orthodoxy into “three separate entities,” and states that “This reality, the existence of two schismatic groups, was a real agony.” The rest of Pat. Bartholomew’s speech is largely a reiteration of the same points he and other Constantinople representatives have been making since the summer. He states that the granting of autocephaly to Ukraine was a purely pastoral matter on the part of Constantinople, to free Ukraine from the oppression of being part of the Russian Church and to create unity within Ukraine. The Synods, primates, and hierarchs of other Local Churches have, however, noted that Ukrainian Orthodoxy is only less unified since Constantinople’s interference there. He also repeats the historical claim that the Kiev Metropolis never transferred to the Russian Church—an assertion that only the Patriarchate of Constantinople accepts. Further, he states that “The issue in Ukraine was timely. That is, the Ecumenical Patriarchate did not suddenly decide to intervene,” although he had denied numerous appeals from schismatic clergy and state authorities over the preceding three decades, changing his mind only after the unsuccessful Crete council in 2016. Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, a hierarch of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, has tied Constantinople’s interference in Ukraine to Pat. Bartholomew’s disappointment that the Russian Church did not participate in the Crete Council. Pat. Bartholomew further states: “As we have maintained, there are no more schismatics in Ukraine because they have been restored to communion with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.” However, to date, the OCU is in communion only with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, not with the Orthodox Church as a whole. They have been explicitly rejected as schismatics by several Local Churches. http://orthochristian.com/121591.html?fbclid=IwAR12vr6wJNpNvByH8txIEr8X_vQXe-kVpv516GgsNGD1zDILzsNqiZ7tAgg